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  1. Member
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    Hello All,

    I'm new to the group so my apologies if this isn't posted in the correct forum.

    I'm about to start on a rather large documentary project that requires me to capture about 70 Hrs of VHS tapes. This footage will be intercut with NEW interviews that will be HD 1920/1080. I'm on a budget but I would still like the best quality possible (or close) for my analog footage when it is blown up theatrically.

    Any advice on this? Here is what I'm running now:

    JVC SVHS deck HR-S3800u>ADVC110>FCP7
    I'm also considering buying a TCB AVT-8710

    Anybody have experience running a project like this? Advice on hardware or potential issues that I may be concerned about down the road would be very helpful! Thanks!
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  2. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Since this is to be both intercut with HD material and shown on the big screen, the contrast between the hd and vhs material will be striking. And since you likely have enough time and money to do this right, you do NOT want to skimp on any possible quality you can eek out of those tapes.
    With that in mind, I would NOT recommend going the DV route as you had intended (via the advc110), but rather capture uncompressed/losslessly at 4:2:2 and use good AVISynth NR, Deint & Resize scripts to get you the best match to your hd that you can.
    For cap units, maybe a Blackmagic box/board (which IIRC, ably supports 4:2:2). This would likely also require a PC for part of the trip (unless your Mac can dualboot). You will most assuredly need a TBC, probably both a line and fullframe type (at least for some of the 70 tapes). I won't comment on which models, though. There are others here who are more up to date with the available units and are currently into capture fulltime...

    Scott
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  3. Member
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    Thanks for the reply, Scott!

    I figured transcoding DV might be a little jarring. I am concerned about drive space though... right now I have a 4TB RAID. Would you recommend I capture to 720x480 SD uncompressed? I have a camera that I can use as a "Pass-thru" line and record onto MiniDV, then capture uncompressed? Would there be a quality loss there?
    I read about the Black Magic boards but it seems confusing. Which set-up would you recommend with my system:

    mac powerbook 2008 Intel Core 2 Duo
    2.4 Ghz Memory: 4GB 1076 MHZ DDR3
    Mac OSX 10.7.5

    Thanks again for your help, I'm pretty new to this stuff!
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  4. Banned
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    Capture tape directly to lossless YUY2 AVI (you can use real-time Huffyuv lossless compression). If you intend to transfer to MiniDV, re-record, recompress, re-encofe, etc., etc., you are wasting your time. Multiple record and encode steps would not be like feeding video files thru WinZIP.

    I don't know how you can do most of this on a Mac or, for that matter, on a laptop of any kind. In particular, laptop drives are incredibly slow and a laptop screen does not have the brightness or color accuracy you need for video work with 70 VHS tapes and HD material.

    There are two types of TBC. A line-level tbc of some kind is essential for clean VHS capture. An AVT-8710 is a full-frame TBC that is useful for defeating Macrovision, but has no line-level correction and will not solve a majority of line-sync and other playback problems with VHS. Try this explanation of the two types: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/356453-2013-Digitize-VHS-final-consensus-on-how-to-...=1#post2245396.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 25th Mar 2014 at 14:56.
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  5. Mountains of gear vaporeon800's Avatar
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    This doesn't have anything to do with the actual capturing step, but is there any chance of exhibiting at a higher frame rate than 24 fps? Conversions from 60Hz down to 24Hz aren't pretty.
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    The new HD footage will be imported in FCP7 timeline and will probably be prores 422. I believe the camera (Canon 5D Mark III) has a setting for 30FPS. Do you recommend that I shoot at that frame rate when intercutting SD material?
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  7. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    The VHS material is inherently 60i material. If you haven't shot the HD material, I'd suggest either shooting 60i also (to match), or 60p (to give option to match or otherwise), or shooting 24p but then you would have to deal with telecine'd VHS material (assuming it wasn't film-sourced stuff).
    I do NOT recommend 30p, as it will look stilted motion compared to the 60i SD footage, and will be more obvious then pulldown is applied for film playout.

    Capping (just) the SD material at 4:2:2 using uncompressed (std 270Mbps) for 70 hours needs ~8.3TB. Lossless compression (which I recommend) might drop that in ~half, but you would STILL need room for the HD footage as well as intermediate render files (transitions, FX, etc) and the master output. PLUS, it's very likely an external drive will NOT be CONSISTENTLY fast enough of a pipeline for losslessly-encoded footage (or ProRes 4:2:2 HD for that matter).

    I'm getting mixed signals from your answers. Maybe you should clarify:
    1. What is your budget for this project?
    2. What is your timeline for this project?
    3. What existing equipment do you have that is pertinent to this project?
    4. When you say "theatre release", do you mean film-based or d-cinema (where one can project using other supported framerates)?

    Scott
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  8. Member 2Bdecided's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tjnorway View Post
    I figured transcoding DV might be a little jarring.
    Blowing up to HD is one scenario where you might, just be able to see the effects of DV vs lossless. I wouldn't bet my life on spotting the difference though. Whereas a line TBC will make a visible improvement (sometimes small, sometimes large) on all but the very best (and very worst) tapes. Some DV camcorders include excellent line TBCs when capturing analogue to DV. No one has mentioned getting levels correct - that's essential, and may require a proc amp (depending on your tapes, and whether the capture device you choose already has one built in - your ADVC and any camcorders you might try will not).


    Whatever you do, the VHS and HD sources will look quite different even on an SDTV, and very different on an HDTV, never mind projected in a theatre!

    If you want the (modern, HD) video look, go with 60i. If you want something approximating the film/digital-cinema look, go with 24p.


    The trick isn't to do the best that you can with the VHS (though you should of course do this) - the trick is to creatively present its obviously inferior quality as an artistic device that shows this footage is looking back many years, contrasted with the HD footage that is clearly "now". So while you want to avoid obvious picture faults, the general inferiority of the footage can be put to good use, and might be seen as an advantage.

    There are great ways of deinterlacing, upscaling, and bluring/converting to 24p - all in AVIsynth - which are slow but will maximise quality.

    What is it a documentary about? If the VHS is all talking heads, that's one (fairly simple) issue. If it's a sports or dance event shot at 60i, that's another set of problems. Was it shot using a pro camera? What was the shutter speed?

    Cheers,
    David.
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